“If I would have known how difficult it is to get NSX up and running, I never would have recommended this solution.”
– Sonny Mendoza, System Engineer – Architect, Lanvera
One of Lanvera’s major achievements in 2018 was crossing the finish line with the deployment of VXLAN and VMWare’s NSX. Although, NSX was not simple to deploy, easy to troubleshoot, nor kind on your patience.
In fact, in 2018, I attended a Palo Alto event where I sat at a table and talked about NSX. Others overheard and came to our table to talk about it. One gentlemen claimed he was on his third attempt to deploy it. Another said it broke several parts of the network and IT deemed it a risk. The other said it’s deployed but not in production, fear of it breaking.
All of these concerns are not unfounded. Here is a few of the take-aways we ran into that marred/aided our deployment.
5. Hiring A Consultant Does Not Guarantee Success. After the consultant left, our NSX solution was technically up, but moving VMs between datacenters didn’t work as expected. Routing didn’t work as expected. And many phone calls to VMWARE ensued to work on the small whoops that the consultant didn’t catch. Consultants often expect their clients to know what to look for and with something like NSX, we didn’t know what we didn’t know.
4. NSX Training Does Not Guarantee Success. At the behest of our sales engineer, they highly suggested we attend VMWARE’s NSX training, which we spend credits on. My team reported that the training was problematic, from lab’s crashing or freezing to unable to run the content. Many phone calls to support dragged it out by weeks, if not a month or two. After the technical leads were trained, they found the training really didn’t prepare them for the challenges of the deployment. “Thank goodness we had the consultant”.
3. Attending VMUG Did Not Guarantee Success. Although, my team would say it helped. In fact, Sonny took over a session at the DFW VMUG to talk through our NSX deployment with their subject matter experts. Explaining our behavioral problems. Lots of stumpers unsolved. All that said, I am an advocate of VMUG. I feel user groups are important to attend for these kinds of reasons.
2. Reading VMWARE’s Books and White Papers on NSX Did Not Guarantee Success. Forums and communities would highlight these reads, so we absorbed as much as we could. However, the books contradicted what sales engineers and our consultants told us. When we shared our sources for the matieral, “Well, that is technically true, but I don’t recommend it” is what we got back. Conversations got really suspicious. What is the agenda here? Sell more VMWARE licensing or actually get NSX running in a workable state.
1. Having a VMWARE Lab is the Biggest Recommendation We Can Make To Improve Success. We didn’t have a lab, but the entire time either we made comments, consultants made comments, or people at VMUG made comments. Testing these technologies in lab is far better than going straight to the production network. VMUG is an excellent resource on lab licenses for the VMWARE IT pro. Competency of the product is paramount, especially when encountering anomalous behaviors.
Beginner or Advance NSX Hands-On-Lab (HOL)
VMware NSX YouTube Channel